Sandra Rodriguez-Zas, data analysis, is Assistant Professor of Animal Science and of Statistics. She received her MS and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research program is a continuous quest to understand the genetic architecture of health, social behavior, agricultural and other complex characteristics through statistical genomics and bioinformatics. This quest is directed by a methodical process of evaluating complementary approaches and identifying parsimonious models to study complex characteristics in humans, laboratory animals, insects, livestock and plants including pain, social behavior, milk production, and meat quality. Outcomes of her research help to discriminate nature from nurture and enhance the opportunities to cure and prevent diseases, and to understand complex biological systems.
She is the PI on a $1M NIH NIGMS funded project with G. Robinson on multifactorial gene expression in honey bees. She also collaborates across campus in a wide variety of gene expression projects using microarrays to study: nutritional effects in dairy cows (USDA), meat quality in pork (USDA), development in Drosophila, and growth in soybean, among others.
As an executive committee member of the Agricultural Genome Science and Public Policy Training Program, she fosters the recruiting of graduate students with interest in the areas of genomics, communication and policy making. Likewise, Dr. Rodriguez-Zas is a faculty on the GK-12 EdGrid Graduate Teaching Fellows Program (NSF DGE), to assist high school teachers with bioinformatics tools in their classrooms.